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Surefire Resources eyes Saudi site for vanadium processing hub

Updated: Apr 23

Surefire Resources is looking to build a vanadium processing facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Credit: File

Surefire Resources is one step closer to a vanadium processing plant in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) after the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) pinpointed the Ras Al-Khair industrial region for the site.

It comes after the company sealed in August a pivotal memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the KSA – through that nation’s Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia (MISA) – where it plans to process ore from its Victory Bore vanadium and high-purity alumina (HPA) project in Western Australia’s Mid West region.

Since the MOU was signed, Surefire has held several meetings with the MISA, leading to an introduction to the RCJY – an autonomous organisation that aims to manage industrial city hubs for the mining and mineral resource industry.

Management says the RCJY identified the Ras Al-Khair industrial region as a “suitable location” at the most recent meeting between the pair.

Ras Al-Khair is a fully-serviced industrial town and port that is close to development completion, with suitable land available for Surefire’s proposed processing operation. Management says the region hosts existing infrastructure, utilities and logistics, including an industrial port and proximity to an international airport, which will greatly reduce its upfront capital cost.

Surefire managing director Paul Burton and chairman Vladimir Nikolaenko have scheduled a meeting with both MISA and RCJY representatives for the end of the month at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Sydney.

Management says the MOU provides it with a clear pathway to maximise value from Victory Bore by processing in an overseas jurisdiction where power costs are low, infrastructure for downstream processing is present and a significant local market exists for products.

The steel industry in KSA currently accounts for about 90 per cent of the kingdom’s total vanadium demand, where the silvery-grey metal is used as an additive to reduce the end-product alloy’s sensitivity to overheating and increases its strength and toughness to make it an ideal structural steel.

The total vanadium resource at Victory Bore is estimated at 321 million tonnes at 0.39 per cent vanadium pentoxide, with an upside of between 1003 and 1511 million tonnes at between 0.2 and 0.43 per cent vanadium pentoxide, if exploration targets are included. In addition, Victory Bore can contribute an estimated total aluminium resource of 37.7 million tonnes at 23.3 per cent aluminium oxide.

It constitutes one of Australia’s biggest vanadium and battery mineral deposits, with more than 3 billion pounds of contained vanadium pentoxide and associated HPA potential.

Surefire recently engaged premier mining and exploration consultant Snowden Optiro to provide a mine plan, cost estimate and report for the upcoming prefeasibility study (PFS) at Victory Bore, which is expected to be delivered next month.

Management believes it is advancing the project at a key time when global markets have an increasing demand for vanadium in both traditional steel, and emerging vanadium redox batteries.

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